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Federal civil rights investigation could begin in Ferguson, Mo.

The U.S. Justice Department will launch a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department that may begin as early as Thursday. Spurred by the killing of an 18-year-old unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a white Ferguson police officer, the investigation will examine the training and practices of the Ferguson police.

NATO two-day summit begins in Wales as global crises continue

Leaders from 28 different countries will gather Thursday in Wales for the first NATO meeting since 2012 in Chicago. Russian intervention in Ukraine will likely take center stage as international leaders discuss a possible course of action to counter Putin's aggressive moves. Other major areas of interest include Islamic State's territory seizures in Syria and Iraq, escalating concerns over cyberthreats and the Ebola epidemic in Africa.

NFL season begins with Green Bay Packers facing the Seattle Seahawks

Are you ready for some football? NFL fans across the country rejoice as the league opens its season Thursday, ushering in another road to the Super Bowl. The Green Bay Packers will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in Washington state in the season opener. USA TODAY Sports has all the latest coverage and predictions for the upcoming months of tackles and touchdowns.

USA TODAY Sports' Lorenzo Reyes breaks down the NFL season opener.

Fast-food workers across the country plan to strike for higher wages

McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience in dozens of cities across the country Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry's workers. The "Fight for $15" campaign is designed to bring attention to the hardships of workers earning the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week opens in New York

New York will fill with models, clothing designers and spectators Thursday as one of fashion industry's largest events begins its annual series of shows. BCBD, Jason Wu, J. Crew and Athleta are among the dozens touting their latest collections on the catwalk. Reporters Carly Mallenbaum, Donna Fredykin and Arienne Thompson will all be attending shows throughout the week, providing the latest coverage from the runways.

Gap's Athleta brand brought fitness to New York Fashion Week in its first runway show. USA TODAY's Carly Mallenbaum was there to watch the models do a lot more than strike a pose. VPC

Bonus: Happy Birthday, Queen Bey!

Pop diva Beyoncé celebrates her 33rd birthday Thursday.

And, the essentials:

Weather: More big storms will plaster parts of the central U.S. Thursday, while some rain also falls in the Southwest and Southeast.

Stocks: Stock futures were mixed ahead of regular trading as investors watch the NATO summit in U.K.

TV Tonight: Wondering what to watch tonight? TV critic Robert Bianco looks at NFL's opener with Packers vs. Seahawks and Elementary.

If you missed Wednesday's news, we've got you covered here.

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Contributing: The Associated Press

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